- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Oakland parks supervisor Victoria "Tora" Rocha, founder of the Oakland-based Pollinator Posse, was contemplating how to help our struggling pollinators--she's always thinking of them--and originated this idea: “Tees for Bees.” Whack a seed ball (packed with wildflower seeds and a few milkweed seeds) from a golf course to its outlying open space areas. Seeds germinate; pollinators come. It's a win-win strategy for pollinators and the environment. And a little exercise for the golfers!
The first-ever “Tees for Bees” will take place from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Monday, April 3 on the Lake Chabot Golf Course, 11450 Golf Links Road, Oakland. The goal is to spread California native wildflowers into the open space areas at the Lake Chabot Golf Course and turn them into thriving essential habitat for native bees and butterflies, Rocha says.
“Using seed balls created from local clay soil and wildflower seeds, Ace Kids' Gold participants and community volunteers will launch the balls into the air, spreading seeds across the area,” Rocha says, inviting everyone to “Join us on April 3 as we help this environment, learn about local wildlife and the pollinator process and have some fun playing golf.”
Rocha founded the Pollinator Posse in 2012 to hand-rear monarch butterflies at Lake Merritt to increase their survival rates. (See National Wildlife Federation's tribute to the Mayor of Oakland and the Pollinator Posse in November.) Last Saturday, March 25, Rocha and fellow Posse members discussed butterfly gardening at the first-ever "Let's Wing It" Butterfly Summit at Annie's Annuals and Perennials, Richmond. Rocha also explained the "Tees for Bees" project and the Posse's plans to become a statewide organization.
In fact, the Posse is in the process of contacting UC Master Gardeners to launch “Tees for Bees” at golf courses throughout the state's 58 counties. Other organizations, including 4-H and garden clubs, are also expected to join the grassroots movement. Everyone, Rocha said, is welcome.
The end results could be spectacular--bumble bees and other native bees foraging on phacelia, lupine and the California golden poppy and other native wildflowers. Honey bees, butterflies and flower flies (syrphids) and other pollinators joining in.
Meanwhile, the first "Tees for Bees" is Monday, April 3. No golf balls: seed balls. For more information on the Lake Chabot Golf Course event, access teesforbees.eventbrite.com or contact Preston Pinkney, program director at (510) 351-0391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Pollinator Posse, "like" or join the Pollinator Posse public Facebook page.
Tora Rocha Greens Up Oakland (Oakland Magazine)
Tora Rocha Interview (Garden Tribe)